Tolerance Testers

September 30, 2015 Gratitude


Do you have people in your life who try your patience? I’m sure we all do. They range from those who have little quirks that bug you all the way to those you cannot stand. Be thankful for them.

What! Am I nuts? Perhaps, but that is aside from the point I would like to make.

Life is full of lessons. If we accept them, understand them, and allow them to change us, we become better people. Think of all the teachers in your life, the people you have looked up to and wanted to emulate. They all played a part in determining your growth. You are grateful for them, aren’t you? If not, you should be.

Let’s get back to the ones I first mentioned – the ones who get under your skin and raise your blood pressure. They are teachers as well and their lessons are often the hardest ones to learn – but are equally beneficial. The lessons they offer have to do with patience, tolerance and empathy. Those are all characteristics that should be prized. Be grateful for the lessons.

The very fact that they cause you concern emphasizes your impatience, intolerance and self centeredness. Do you disagree? Think about it. YOU get upset because of what OTHERS say or do, or they express mannerisms different to what YOU are accustomed to. Is that THEIR fault? Only YOU are responsible for how YOU react.

Let’s step back and look at this from a different angle. Is there anything you say or do that annoys others? I have annoyed a lot of people in my lifetime (I still get strange looks from some). This is not a cookie cutter world where we are all pressed out of the same mold. That would be pretty boring.

We all have unique life experiences shaped by family, friends, our culture, nationality, etc. blended with our personal viewpoint and understanding. Throw in the kind of upbringing we have dealt with, our education and other factors, and the result is a person who will be resented, ridiculed, and even despised by someone, somewhere. We all can be very annoying to somebody, particularly if we speak up or stand out in some way.

Those who test your tolerance are of different groups. Some are just living their life in their own peculiar way (or what is peculiar in your opinion), some are not very highly evolved, and others are seeking attention as a means of dealing with their insecurities.

As the I Ching states, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

A lot of the annoyance people feel against those who test their tolerance is in the predictability involved. You anticipate what they are going to say or do and get yourself upset before they even do it. I repeat, only YOU are responsible for how YOU react. You are setting yourself up to be upset.

  • What if you changed the way you look at things?
  • What if you stopped blaming others for how you feel?
  • What if you accepted responsibility for managing the situation differently?
  • What if you acknowledged that impatience, intolerance and self centeredness are behind your feelings towards the other person?
  • What if you expressed gratitude to the tolerance tester for reminding you that you have character defects you need to work on?

No one is perfect. We all have work to do. Allowing tolerance testers to live their lives while you live yours is a very good lesson to learn. Be grateful for it. We do not have to change our views or beliefs to be tolerant of those of others.

“Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.”
— Joshua Liebman

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